Wiring 102, Intermediate Techniques

Lee Cheatle

Time to discuss annealed copper vs. anodized aluminum, here are the basics:
1) Copper is stiffer than aluminum so a smaller gauge can be used to hold the branch where placed thus it also is less noticeable on a branch and it turns black with age thus concealing it from view more effectively than aluminum
2) Copper being stiffer is generally used on conifers and not used on deciduous trees whose bark is thinner and the copper has a tendency to often damage the bark of a deciduous tree
3) Aluminum, due to its more malleable quality, is easier to learn how to wire with, it is more forgiving
4) Copper takes more time to learn how to use effectively; once bent it becomes stiffer. Because of it getting stiffer, when bent, it can be harder to learn to apply and it is easy to waste it because of mistakes made
5) Aluminum can be re-straightened effectively and used again by yanking on both ends simultaneously with 2 pairs of pliers; some are opposed to this due to little kinks being left behind on larger gauges. It is your decision and is often decided based on ones budget

• Try not to have more than 3 wires on any branch you wire; this is an esthetic guideline not a rule
• A hint to the above guideline; if you find that you have more than 3 wires on a branch regularly, you may, be leaving too many branches on in those areas, consider that often when wiring your trees
• Wire softly; do not use the branch as a fulcrum, twist your wire while you are applying it
• When wiring 2 branches with one wire, start wiring one branch with one and a half turns, creating an anchor and then do the entire second branch then return to the first branch and complete it
• Pre plan your moves so that you know what branches are going to be wired with one wire
• Pre plan where you will be making the bends in the branches, both sideways and up and down and then place your wire accordingly at the back sides of those bends
• Pre plan which way you want a branch to twist and whenever possible apply the wire in that direction so you do not unwind the wire twisting the branch the opposite way when the wire in on the branch
• Pre bent branches are often already on a bonsai. If you want to keep those bends remember to apply the wire on the back side of the bends to keep them from breaking
• When wiring axial areas V’s; the wire always twists in opposite directions
• Crossing wires; avoid it but, this is not a hard fast rule and has been misinterpreted. There are 2 reasons that I know of not to cross wires; one is that a large wire crossed over another large wire puts more pressure at that spot and will create wire scars. The other reason is esthetics; it does not look as good as a smooth running uninterrupted wire.
• When should you cross wires? When you get out on the smaller branches you will need to cross some wires in order to anchor them properly. These are very small gauges of wire and will not do any wire scarring nor be very noticeable